After outscoring the Canes 11-5 in the previous two meetings this season and only needing a SINGLE POINT to clinch a playoff spot, the Bruins dropped the ball and lost by a final score of 4-2. They played a solid forty minutes of hockey and got on the board first, but bad turnovers and a bad penalty kill ended up being more than the Bruins could handle.
The score sheet would open up just 6:07 into the game when Jaromir Jagr would feed the puck to Matt Bartkowski where he would blast a shot from the top that would get re-directed out in front by the skate of Milan Lucic. Originally the goal was credited to Matt Bartkowski for his first of the season, but after a full period of review, it was changed to Milan Lucic for the deflection, his sixth of the season. Immediately following the goal Jordan Staal would have a couple of strong rushes that Tuukka Rask came up big on, preserving the lead for the Bruins. In fact, it wouldn’t be until 19:25 that the Canes would find a way to beat the Bruins netminder, as Jeff Skinner threw a bad angle shot at the net that tipped off of Johnny Boychuk‘s stick and up into the net behind Rask, tying the game at 1 a piece.
“The main part today is to establish the offensive zone.” -Milan Lucic during an interview with Naoko Funayama
Dennis Seidenberg kept the physicality part of the game in tact as he threw a killer hip check on Jiri Tlusty, keeping the team in check (literally). Both teams started off with great momentum, trading opportunities through the first five minutes. The Bruins had the best power play opportunity of the night when David Krejci waited patiently to find Jagr on the far side, but he wasn’t able to lift it high enough to net the go-ahead goal. Despite four straight minutes of a man-advantage opportunity and five shots on net, the Bruins were unable to regain the lead. The go-ahead goal would come at 14:04 of the middle frame, from Jiri Tlusty as he roofed the puck past Rask with Eric Staal picking up the assist. However, the Canes lead was short-lived as Tyler Seguin picked up the loose puck in the neutral zone from Alexander Semin, used his speed and froze Justin Peters between the pipes as he beat him glove-side high to tie the game at 2 a piece heading into the third and final frame.
It was in the third period that the Bruins would come out an entirely different team and not in a ‘don’t poke the bear’ kind of way. In fact, it is now safe to say the Bruins are no longer a strong third period team as they wound up losing the lead after Joe Corvo, yes, Joe Corvo, scored another power play goal for the Canes, putting them up 3-2 with just over ten minutes remaining. The goal definitely deflated the Bruins and seemed to rattle them enough to hit them where it hurt. Despite efforts to get the man-advantage by pulling Rask, the Canes were able to bust through the neutral zone and get the empty-net insurance goal to seal the 4-2 win with 27 seconds remaining in regulation. The win comes as Carolina’s second in 16 games while the Bruins still struggle to earn that extra point to clinch the playoff spot, as well as pull ahead of the Canadiens (who also lost tonight) in the Division for the lead.
The Bruins are going to have to figure out what and where they kinks lie and fast as they take on the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, a team that has given Boston trouble all season long. If they plan on coming out on top, they are going to have to play a much stronger third period than they did tonight and every single member, including the healthy and injured scratches are going to have to show up.